...Akihiro Yano won't be ready in time for opening day and will be left off the roster.
...Tomoaki Kanemoto tested his left knee in the outfield during practice for the first time since returning to the team after surgery (he never had a chance to take the field during the spring games he played in). While he didn't experience any problems, the team is still being cautious with his progress.
...The rotation could look like this for the start of the season:
- Yuya Ando
- Shinobu Fukuhara
- Yasutomo Kubo
- Tsuyoshi Shimoyanagi
- Shunsuke Ishikawa
- Atsushi Noumi
...Mai Kuraki will be throwing out the first pitch during the home opener on March 3rd against the Yakult Swallows; she will also be singing the National Anthem.
...The Tigers are still trying to get the Colonel Sanders statue, that was fished out of Dotonbori River, for display at Koshien Stadium. Unfortunately, it appears as though it will take some more time before a decision is made by KFC regarding the timing.
The statue is currently stored away in a hidden location somewhere in Osaka. Due to the condition of the statue, it's possible that KFC will take a more conservative approach and hold onto it until preservation repairs can be made to it. That could mean more than 6 months before the statue is ready for public display.
...A Hanshin Tigers shop recently opened up near the home of the Yakult Swallows (Minato-ku Aoyama).
Said the store owner, "We got permission from the Swallows. There are quite a few Hanshin fans in the Jingu area.
...It appears as though balls hit into the sky at Mazda Stadium can be difficult to track during the day. Center fielder Masato Akamatsu said that even with sunglasses, it can be an adventure in the field.
...Hitoshi Tamura won't be on the roster for opening day due to the return of an old injury during a game against the Tigers on the 25th. There is no timetable for his return as of now.
...Rena Tanaka (actress) will be throwing out the first pitch for the home opener at Yahoo Dome on March 3rd against the Orix Buffaloes; Aoi Teshima is scheduled to sing the National Anthem.
...Hei-Chun Lee was diagnosed with bruised cartilage in his left elbow (右ひじ軟骨挫傷) on Monday. It will apparently take 3 weeks for a full recovery. Lee will start the season at Ni-gun.
...Norichika Aoki stopped by the Yakult Swallows' clubhouse on Monday and appears ready to start the season.
Said Aoki, "My fever is gone, my back is feeling better... I should be 100% for opening day."
...There's a good chance that Masanori Ishikawa will be starting the road opener against the Tigers at Kyocera Dome on the 3rd.
...The Giants will go with 11 pitchers and 17 position players.
...The Giants used an "international baseball" for batting practice at the Dome on Tuesday. The ball was the same size as the one used during the Olympics last year.
...Yoshiyuki Kamei was sent down to Ni-gun to get some more playing time prior to the start of the regular season.
YOKOHAMA BAY STARS
...Initial reports stated that Shuichi Murata might not make it back until the second half of May, but it now appears as though he might make it back before then (late April, early May). Murata was seen hitting off a tee during practice at Yokohama Stadium on Sunday.
...Nippon TV will be broadcasting the three game series between the Yomiuri Giants and Hiroshima Carp to kick of new baseball season. They have announced that they will extend the broadcast (if needed) for the three games as follows: up to an hour for the first game and up to 30 minutes for the final two games.
...The NPB unveiled the 60th Anniversary Central / Pacific League Logo today.